By Joaquin Badajoz
Mother’s Day Mass became a massive multicultural celebration at the Shrine Church of St. Gerard Majella.
A rainy, cool New York Mother’s Day was, in fact, a joyfully, radiant expression of love of all mothers at the Hollis church.
At 11 a.m. sharp, Auxiliary Bishop Raymond Chappetto met the community already gathered at the renovated parking lot across the street, to bless the new Marian Shrine, rosary icons and the playing area.
“That was one of the projects of the Generations of Faith. Father Gannon thought the parking lot needed to be restored,” said Bishop Chappetto.
“It was a priority, and if you look at it today it’s a beautiful parking lot. And the devotional area too, with the statue of our Blessed Mother, the rosary icons… It’s beautiful!”
Generations of Faith is a capital campaign launched with 23 pilot parishes during the winter of 2015, which progressively extended to the remaining parishes “to strengthen the heart of our Diocese, to invigorate youth evangelization, to foster the information of our faith, and to fulfill our promise to care for those priest who have faithfully served,” as Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio wrote in his column Put Out Into the Deep (Feb. 1, 2017).
At that moment, the campaign – which had an initial goal of $80 million – had raised more than $120 million, thanks to the extraordinary generosity of the diocesan community.
A year after the campaign continues expanding, and the labors of renovation at the St. Gerard Majella are a good example.
At the end of the joyful bilingual celebration, the congregation left more than 20 dozen red roses at the feet of the Virgin, and walked in procession toward the church, where Sunday Mass with Bishop Chappetto included First Communions, Confirmations, blessing of new mothers and blessing of rosaries.
In his homily, the bishop talked about the importance to maintaining a thankful conversation with God. He also remembered the current Year of Vocations, asking for the prayers, and pointing to the fact that the mother of Father Josephjude Gannon, pastor, was present at the Mother’s Day Mass.
“Today was a beautiful celebration in this wonderful parish of St. Gerard Majella. It’s Mother’s Day. It’s the Lord’s Day. And it’s a blessing of a new parking lot, a blessing of the moms. We have First Communion children here. We have the Confirmation children here. What a celebration! It’s always a great celebration at St. Gerard,” said Bishop Chappetto.
“Mary is the example of commitment for all of us. She had given her life to the service of God’s plan. This is what mothers do. They give themselves to taking care of their children. She’s a great role model for all mother, all women, for all of us,” concluded Bishop Chappetto.